Lowering Your Cholesterol The Healthy Way- Caoimhe O’Leary

Have you had your cholesterol checked?

More people die in Ireland today from heart disease than any other illness. It accounts for 36% of deaths in Ireland. The positive news is that 80% of the incidence of heart disease can be prevented by improving lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, we are not in control of other risk factors such as age, gender and genetic predisposition to illness. We are however in control of modifiable risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure and smoking and if taken care of we can reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Get your cholesterol and blood pressure checked!

Cholesterol is a waxy substance of which 75% is produced by the liver and 25% can be found in certain foods.

It is essential in producing all the body’s cells and hormones, and is needed to make vitamin D and bile for digestion.  However, when your blood has too much cholesterol this can stick to the walls of arteries. A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries, narrows the arteries restricting the amount of blood flow to the brain and heart. This can eventually cause a blockage leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main lipoproteins: LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). Too much LDL is unhealthy therefore it is referred to as bad cholesterol and should be kept low. HDL is protective however and helps to remove LDL cholesterol. HDL is known as the good cholesterol and should be kept high.

What do the numbers mean?

One of the best ways of taking control of your cholesterol is through a healthy diet and physical activity.

Choosing a healthy diet low in saturated fat (butter, cream, cheese, coconut oil, palm oil, lard, fatty meat, processed meats, confectionary foods) is one way of reducing your cholesterol levels. Aim to consume less than 20g saturated fat per day to help to reduce your LDL cholesterol. When reading food-labels avoid anything more than 5g saturated fat per 100g.

It’s not all about cutting out the bad stuff – the good news is that there are foods you can introduce into your diet that will also help to lower your cholesterol levels.

  1. Nuts – with their positive nutrient profile of fibre, falvonoids and monounsaturated fats, have been shown to lower cholesterol by 3-7.5% and reduce the risk of heart disease by 37% . Aim for 30g unsalted almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts or peanuts per day.


  1. Soluble fibre – found in fruit, vegetables, oats, beans and pulses can lower LDL cholesterol by 5-20% if you consume 15-20g per day. Increase foods containing oat beta – glucan (porridge, oatbran, oatcakes, porridge bread)  and other wholegrains, beans and pulses (aim for 80-100g per day).


  1. Oil rich fish – a rich source of unsaturated fats especially omega 3 which have heart protective benefits. Aim to have 1-2 servings (140g) per week – salmon, sardines, mackerel, kipper, trout, anchovies, eel, pilchards, fresh tuna, sprats, whitebait, whiting. Other healthy fats include olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, avocado, olives, nuts and seeds.


  1. As always recommended increase your fruit and vegetables to 5-7 portions per day. A portion is approximately 80g per day. Consumption of at least 400g fruit and vegetables per day has been associated with lower incidence of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity. They are low in calories, high in phytonutrients, soluble fibre, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.


  1. Plant stanols or sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are naturally found in a wide range of foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They mimic cholesterol and compete with it for absorption. Most diets provide a small amount of plant stanols/sterols (approx 300mg for average person, or 600mg for those on vegetarian diets) however an intake of 1.5-2.4g per day has been shown to reduce cholesterol by 7-10% over 2-3 weeks. You can achieve this by including plant stanol or sterol fortified dairy foods in your diet or taking a supplement containing plant stanols or sterols. Always check with your GP if you are taking medication for your cholesterol.


  1. Soya foods – consumption of 15g-25g soya protein daily has been scientifically proven to lower LDL cholesterol by 4-10%. Include more soya products in the diet such as soya beans, soya yoghurts, soya  milk, tofu, edamame beans.


For further information on cholesterol and diet why not attend a cholesterol workshop at Personal Health Rathmines carried out by Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald where she will provide you with practical tips on a cholesterol lowering diet in a supportive environment.

Next Cholesterol Workshop Date: Wednesday 12th April 7-8pm

Book your place now at 01-4964002

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

Take control of your IBS don’t let it control you- By Caoimhe Mc Donald

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

“Take control of your IBS don’t let it control you”   

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic and relapsing bowel disorder that can affect up to 20% of adults and adolescents as well as children. It is 1.5 times more common in women than in men.  Symptoms include:

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • flatulence
  • poor appetite
  • indigestion

It is important to note that many conditions have symptoms that can mimic IBS such as inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease and microscopic colitis. It is important that the diagnosis of IBS has been carried out, coeliac disease has been out-ruled and alarm features are absent.

Many people have had symptoms of IBS all their lives and done nothing about it, putting it down to having “a sensitive tummy”. As a Dietitian, I would estimate 60 – 70% of my patients suffer with IBS, some that come to a dietitian for a different reason and drop it into conversation when discussing their diet. People wonder how it has become so much more common these days, but when asked about their family history many report one or both of their parents have avoided a food for years at it “doesn’t agree with them”. 

Irritable Bowel, Dietitian, Rathmines

The truth is, more people feel comfortable discussing their digestive health and doing something about it. People live busy lives that can often be stressful and many are now more conscious of their diet and looking after their health. I have seen patients with such severe symptoms it has a huge impact on their quality of life; unable to attend work, fear of getting public transport, avoiding social activities or not sleeping at night as a result. Why live with something like this when symptoms can be managed effectively?

The exact cause of IBS is not known and it is thought to be multifactorial. Suggested causes may be; a previous gastrointestinal infection, prolonged antibiotic use, stress, medication, alcohol, poor diet and lifestyle factors. Two thirds of IBS patients perceive their symptoms are related to food. Symptoms can come and go and may be exacerbated in stressful situations which can make it difficult to identify the exact triggers.

So how do people go about managing their symptoms of IBS?

Dietitian, Dublin 6, Caoimhe McDonald

  • Medical management using anti-diarrhoeals, anti-spasmodics, laxatives or low dose antidepressants
  • Self-help – 7% treat themselves with no medical supervision
  • Herbal remedies
  • Psychological guidance
  • Probiotics
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Dietary guidance

Diet assessment and adjustment by a qualified dietitian is so important in the management of IBS. Many patients prefer dietary management rather than a reliance on medication. As a dietitian specialising in digestive health, it is very rewarding to see a patients’ symptoms improve when they have received guidance on diet, meal pattern, lifestyle factors and stress management. Some may immediately feel an improvement after increasing fibre in the diet, increasing fluid and introducing exercise. Others may find eliminating certain foods beneficial or the use of a probiotic.

There is a growing interest in restriction of short chain fermentable carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, mono-saccharides and polyols….a mouthful I know!) for IBS management. The low FODMAP diet is an exclusion diet specifically for patients with IBS which has been supported by 30 clinical studies. Research has shown that limiting these foods (high in FODMAPS) can alleviate the symptoms associated with IBS.  The low FODMAP diet should be done under the supervision of a dietitian as exclusion diets are at risk of nutritional inadequacy.

If you feel you could benefit from seeing a dietitian in relation to digestive health or any other dietary issue contact Caoimhe McDonald at Personal Health who has worked with patients with IBS for years and can help you identify the triggers for your IBS and provide meal suggestions, recipes and shopping lists to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting all the nutrients you need.

Diet is not always the cause-it can be just one contributing factor to IBS. For many stress management may be the best solution. Personal Health also has a Psychotherapist Susan Duffy who specialises in stress management which may be the answer for you.

Contact the Personal Health team to make an appointment with Consultant Dietitian Caoimhe McDonald or Psychotherapist Susan Duffy on 01 4964002.

Personal Health, Rather Road, Chronic Health intervention

Surprise Your Bones….


Medically Led Fitness

Responsible Exercise for Osteoperosis

When I was training as a student in Cork University Hospital our lead Clinical Educator, Fiona, had a stock phrase for helping patients with Osteoperosis….

‘Surprise your Bones’

….said Fiona regularly, in a gentle Scottish lilt. Whether it was her accent or it’s ‘catchiness’, the phrase seemed to stick!

Fiona was a Clinical Specialist in the area and really believed in the positive benefits of exercise for Osteoperosis.
The tricky part is knowing what are the correct exercises, what are the safe ones and what needs to be avoided.
The even trickier part is making a class relevant/enjoyable to a 60 year old lady who might rather be on the golf course or anywhere else!

Medically Led Fitness Osteoperosis Classes

Exercise can be responsible and good fun

In Personal Health, our Chartered Physiotherapists manage a nice happy medium in this class.
We aim for the whole thing to be enjoyable, sociable and challenging enough to ‘surprise the bones’ into shape.

Typically Osteoperosis affects females far more than males, usually over the age of 55.
It is diagnosed by DEXA scan which is able to measure bone density – usually through imaging of the hip bone.

For those managing Osteoporosis it tends to be a quiet process. There’s typically no pain, and one might only be alerted to it’s complexities when in the A&E room after something innocuous has caused a fracture.

Areas such as the base of the thumb/ wrist and hip are more vulnerable for fracture based on the age and activity profile of those diagnosed with the disease. Similarly a focussed approach to improving balance and/or falls prevention can be a smart way to approach the condition.

Frequently an osteoporotic patient will be undergoing ‘medical’ management of the condition by taking prescribed tablets –  ’Calcichew’- or something similar. It has various classifications in terms of severity, and often patients opt for a sustained (but finite) period of injection therapy as treatment. These injections aim to increase the strength of cortical bone structure in addition to the focussed dietary and exercise interventions.

Personal Health Dublin 6

Chronic disease is just a definition not a life sentence 

In Personal Health our Medically Led Fitness programmes are geared towards optimising chronic health issues. By definition, ‘chronic’ relates to time and duration – not severity (as regularly understood).
So with a chronic diagnosis like Osteoporosis, there’s still a multitude of ways to successfully thrive. In Personal Health we provide a helping hand, some time and a refreshing enjoyable approach to managing your chronic health issue.

Balanced approach to your Personal Health

Redress the Balance…… By Susan Duffy Counselling Psychotherapist

As a counselling psychotherapist I meet a lot of people who are struggling with the balancing act of life; workload, children, ageing parents, relationship and friends are among the many responsibilities we try to juggle daily. All of this juggling on a regular basis before even thinking about ourselves, our diet, fitness and general health.

Media and social media can appear full of ‘successful’ people. Supposedly  ‘just like us’ but with perfectly toned bodies, a stellar career and beautifully turned out children. They run marathons before breakfast and roll out a Nigella style roast for 20 close friends at lunch. If we compare ourselves it can be hard not to feel overwhelmed.

  • Are we coming up short….?
  • Or could these images be constructed with ‘perfection’ styling before we clap eyes on the finished product?
Dublin 6 mental health services

As resilient as a bubble or……

feeling tired and depressed

….A spent force?


All of the above add to feelings of overwhelm, anxiety and just not being enough. When we are spinning plates and have such high expectations of ourselves, something’s got to give. Usually because we are busy with work and trying to live up to the perceived expectations of others, the first thing to give is our health and our self-care.

If we are tired, feeling depleted and ragged, it shows in our work and relationships. We can feel demotivated and under-appreciated in work. Anger and resentment can be directed towards loved ones taking us for granted. The basic concept of caring for ourselves in a healthy way underpins how well and whole-heartedly we can care for others, and do our jobs to the best of our abilities.

Surely the correlation between stressed, overworked individuals who strive for perfection and their incidence of back pain, is too high to be a coincidence?

Could it be possible that our tired unsupported bodies are screaming at us to look after them. Sometimes the physical pain we feel can be a symptom of something deeper emotionally. Ironically, lower backs (lumbar spinal) often seem to ‘go’ around stressful landmark life events, when we feel least ‘supported’.

Pausing to ask what your body feels like in this moment, could be the first step in your journey to appropriate self care.

  • What do you truly need right now? (as opposed to what you ‘should’ be doing).
Counselling for Health

What’s going on in there..

It could be deciding to talk to someone about the stressors in your life. What impacts on your relationships and general health?

It could mean taking a step towards a stronger healthier body through exercise, diet or relaxation.

Regardless of detail, pursuing something suitable, exclusively for you, can help positive change.

Come and ask Personal Health how we can help……it’s time to redress your Personal Health balance….



Women’s Health – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Womens Health

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a relatively common condition that affects how a woman’s ovaries work. It is a condition where a number of cysts develop around the edge of the ovaries (polycystic ovaries) in addition to one or more other symptoms;


PCOS Caoimhe2



Irregular or absent periods
Excessive hair growth
Thinning of scalp hair
Difficulty maintaining a healthy body weight
Elevated testosterone levels
Fertility problems
Insulin resistance

Approximately one in five women has polycystic ovaries, and approximately one in ten has PCOS to some degree.

Long term health concerns associated with PCOS include heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and diabetes. Being overweight, having high cholesterol or high blood pressure increases this risk. Up to 60% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. 50-70% of women with PCOS have insulin resistance.


PCOS Caoimhe1

PCOS cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed through diet and lifestyle. Healthy eating and being active can improve your PCOS symptoms and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
In overweight women the symptoms of PCOS can greatly improve by losing that excess weight. Losing weight will reduce the amount of insulin that your body needs to produce, which reduces testosterone levels and improves your chance of ovulation. Many women with PCOS have difficulty with losing weight and this is where professional advice from a Dietitian can help. Gradual weight loss of 5-7% can restore ovulation, along with decreasing excessive hair growth and reducing acne.

The type and quantity of carbohydrate can influence insulin resistance. The Glycaemic index is a ranking system which shows how quickly your blood glucose rises after eating carbohydrate foods. Low GI diets and increasing physical activity can be useful to reduce the symptoms of PCOS due to improving insulin levels.

PCOS Caoimhe 3

How can Personal Health help you to improve your symptoms of PCOS?

Our team of Dietitians and Chartered Physiotherapists can assist and help you by;

  • identifying your specific nutritional needs
  • providing dietary and lifestyle advice tailored to your needs
  • helping you to lose weight if you are in the overweight category through diet and exercise
  • providing dietary advice if you are planning a pregnancy
  • developing tailored resources such as recipes, meal plans, shopping lists to help you to achieve your goals
  • providing encouragement and motivation in a supportive, non-judgemental environment

PCOS Caoimhe4

To find out more:

Phone: 01 4964002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie


Constipation is a Common Problem During Pregnancy…

Constipation is a Common Problem During Pregnancy



This may be due to:

  • An increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly.
  • Your expanding uterus, takes up valuable space normally occupied by your bowel, which may also add to congestion.
  • Also the iron-containing prenatal vitamins you’re taking may also contribute – but stopping them is a bad idea, for you and your baby.

8 Tips To Try To Ease The Problem…

  1. Pelvic Floor Relaxation


  • Inadequate pelvic floor relaxation and release with bowel emptying is one of the major causes of constipation.
  • During bowel emptying the pelvic floor muscles provide a firm platform of support.
  • Regular pelvic floor exercises are essential to improve pelvic floor support. (See page on pelvic floor exercises)
  • Pelvic Floor relaxation is promoted by bulging the low abdomen forward with relaxed deep breathing.


2. Ideal Toilet Techniques:




  • When you first feel the urge to empty your bowels, do so at the earliest convenient time.
  • Allow sufficient time to empty you bowel, try not to rush.
  • Sometimes the simple action of taking 5-6 deep breaths can help relax the pelvic floor and facilitate bowel opening.
  • If you find that after 2 or 3 minutes of relaxed breathing and sitting on the toilet that your bowels do not open then get up and return to your daily activities and return to the toilet when you feel the next urge.
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods without an urge can increase the likelihood of straining the pelvic floor.


3.    Ideal Position For Bowel Movement


  • Sit on the toilet seat, never hover above the seat.
  • Place a small stool under your feet to mimic a squat position.
  • If you are out and about and you have no stool lift your heel off the ground. The key is that you want your knees higher than your hips.
  • Lean forward at your hips with a straight back.
  • Place your elbows on your knees.
  • Make your waist wide and bulge your abdominals out as this opens up the pelvic floor.
  • Push down and back into your back passage.
  • Breath out or make a noise as you push out.
  • Don’t push too hard. (Scale of 1-10, push at 5-7).
  • This technique relaxes and opens the anal sphincter to allow the bowel movement to pass.
  • Lift and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles when finished.




  • Regular exercise helps to stimulate bowel movements.
  • Low impact exercise such as pre/post natal Pilates, walking and cycling is ideal.
  • Be mindful of avoiding exercises with the potential to overload and strain the pelvic floor.



If your stool is too hard, it will be very difficult to pass!


       Good stool consistency requires:

  • Adequate Fibre intake (30grams/day), don’t make the mistake of consuming too much fibre as this can overload the system.
  • Gradually introduce whole-grain foods.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or lightly cooked preferably with skin left on), dried fruits.
  • Greens (broccoli, spinach, green beans, cabbage).
  • Small Regular meals: Big meals can overtax your digestive tract. Try eating six mini-meals a day rather than three large ones.



MK BLog1

  • Eight full glasses of fluids (water, vegetable or fruit juice, broth etc.) each day.
  • Warm liquids such as, hot water and lemon



  • Ask your GP about adding high-powered fiber to your diet, such as wheat-bran or psyllium.


       8.Probiotic acidophilus

  • Found in yogurts that contain active cultures — stimulate the intestinal bacteria to break down food better, aiding the digestive tract in its efforts to keep things moving.


How can Personal Health Help Mums to be?


  • Medically Led Fitness 30 Min Classes-Modified by our Physiotherapists for pregnancy
  • Pre Natal Pilates & Yoga classes led by Chartered physiotherapists and Midwives: see here for schedules and prices:



Dietary Choices:


Book an appointment with one of our Consultant Dietitians:

Caoimhe McDonald(MINDI)

Cliona Godwin(MINDI)



Call us to find out more.

Phone: 01 496 4002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.persoanlhealth.ie

The Very Real And Emotional Struggles Of Having A Fitbit (Or Does Your Fitbit Have You?)

The Very Real And Emotional Struggles Of Having A Fitbit (Or Does Your Fitbit Have You?)

My Fitbit journey began a month ago. I had plagued with husband with hints of getting me one and well, yes to my own disbelieve he actually must have listened, as one day he arrived home with one for me!

I was thrilled or so I thought but very quickly I began to realise……I didn’t own this Fitbit……..this Fitbit owns me! This is what happens when you let a Fitbit into your life:




You live for the sole purpose of getting to you daily Fitbit goals:

Waiting for that little buzz when you get to 10,000 steps and then pathetically self-high-five-ing is perhaps the least glamorous moment of your day.

fitbit steps nailed




You get angry if you don’t have it on when you walk:

If you walk without wearing your Fitbit, does it even count as walking? I know there is no logic to this. I do know that. But on days when you happen to forget your Fitbit, you wonder why you even bothered getting out of bed in the first place. If Fitbit isn’t counting them, are these steps even real? Is anything?

no fitbit don't move


Fitbit’s validation becomes more important than the opinions of human beings:

IT LIKES ME. IT REALLY LIKES ME. Oh, whoa, did I get fired? It’s cool, I got 11,000 steps today so I’m pretty much crushing it-whoop!





You’re constantly jumping up and down for seemingly no reason:

Anyone who has ever stood next to me in work or while waiting to cross the road or in the queue at Tesco’s have probably been only one step away from calling to get me committed.




You have jumping marathons before you go to bed:

Nothing is more unbearable than the idea of resting your head on a pillow when you’re at 9,000 steps. Time to wake up all the neighbours!!

bed fitbit


(If Im being brutally honest, I have had evenings where I’ve got me children to wear it for an hour or two before they go to bed to get me to my target while I put the feet up…….I’m just being a good mother and encouraging them to be active-right??!)



Your worst enemy is yourself:

One day I reached 30,000 steps in one day & the my Fitbit sent a text my phone telling me I was an “Overachiever”…….. I told everyone I met that day just how great I was! My husband & children couldn’t bare to be in the same room as me! An overachiever at last!! But then it dawned onme………that the only way I’d ever feel this good about myself again was by topping it, and there are only 24 hours in a day. Can we use all of them for stepping??-NO………..Will we try anyway??……………………CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.


nailed fitbit


The American Heart Association uses the 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease, the number one killer of men and women in America.



How do I fit all that walking into my busy day?- Here’s a few tips:

  • get off the bus early and walk the rest of the way home or to work
  • walk to the station instead of taking the car or bus
  • take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk up escalators
  • walk the children to school, whatever the weather
  • get a dog- they really help get you out and about and reach those 10,00 steps


How Can Personal Health help you reach your 10,000 steps per day?

Attend one of our 30 minute Medically Led fitnesses classes-

Personal Health’s 30 min fitness classes are designed and implemented by our medically qualified team. Classes vary from session to session. This variety provides a greater all round level of fitness and flexibility and most importantly, it keeps classes interesting and fun. Suitable for all fitness levels.

To see schedule & Book- Download our free app- PH MED FIT or

online- www.personalhealth.ie




Phone: 01 496 4002

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.persoanlhealth.ie

Diet, Nutrition…. what is all the fuss about?

Diet, Nutrition…. what is all the fuss about?

what is nutrition


When giving presentations I often ask my audience “why do you think nutrition is so important?”.

Various responses are given; “to lose weight”, “prevent heart problems”,“ prevent diabetes” which are all true but they are long term effects of good nutrition. It is amazing to see how few people think about the short term effects of eating a healthy balanced diet.

We are living busy lives trying to juggle family life, work, friends, exercise etc. Few people have time to sit down and think about their dietary intake and how it affects them.

balanced diet


Eating a balanced diet and having regular meals throughout the day can:

  • Boost your energy levels
  • Prevent sugar cravings
  • Protect your digestive health
  • Stop that sluggish feeling after a heavy meal
  • Prevent low mood
  • Boost your immune system
  • Improve your concentration levels
  • Encourage self esteem

Reduce risk

In addition to the short term effects of good nutrition, in the long run a healthy diet can reduce your risk of developing:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anaemia
  • Diverticulitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Many illnesses can be as a result of our genes which we can do nothing about. We are however, in control of modifiable risk factors such as our diet and physical activity and can reduce the risk of various diseases.


How can Personal Health help you to achieve a healthy diet?

Our team of Dietitians can assist you and help you to improve your diet by;

  • identifying your specific nutritional needs
  • providing dietary and lifestyle advice tailored to your needs
  • developing tailored resources such as recipes, meal plans, shopping lists to help you to achieve your goals
  • providing encouragement and motivation in a supportive, non-judgemental environment.

Diet teamCall us to find out more.

Phone 01 496 4002                                                                      

Email: info@personalhealth.ie

Website: www.personalhealth.ie

Surviving the first year of motherhood

Surviving The First Year Of Motherhood

Not a medical opinion……just a mum’s!

Like any parent, I will never forget the day we brought our first born Lucy home from the hospital. The two of us walking from the hospital to the car with her tucked up in her car seat, both of us looking at people in a shocked manner if they moved in any way that potentially, in any way, could have ended up in harming her.

We placed her in the back seat, facing backwards, checking and re- checking the seat was fitted correctly. I sat in beside her and held the car seat….. just in case (well you can never be too careful, can you!!) while my husband proceeded to drive home at 10 MPH!!

I was so happy! “Nothing could upset me today” I said to myself.………..Ten minutes later (& about 100metres from the hospital with the 10MPH driving!) I was in tears! What am I going to do with her when we get home ?? The Midwives helped me with everything up until now??? The midwives made me a cups of tea- more sobbing!

‘OMG, I’m failing already…….I’m a useless mum……already! ’ That is when my husband asked me would I actually like to go into the house or was I going bring our child up in the car in the driveway!

Well, you’ll be glad to hear I did not bring her up in the car, I went in and I was ok! Obviously nothing can prepare you for the real thing but looking back there were a few small things I wish I had taken more heed with.


When you are pregnant, no matter what people say, you think when your little bundle of joy arrived it’ll be like this……


M&D 1



But we were like this……


Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/605050



There is a mountain of information on how to cope and everyone will give you their six pence, especially family!


A few tips I wish I had known, for what it’s worth & I am certainly no expert, were the following:


Stop Self Critisim:

  • When you catch yourself berating yourself for not losing the baby weight quick enough, you’re not breastfeeding/you are breast feeding!, you can’t get out the door before lunch and perfect ‘Susan’ has 5 kids up, fed and perfectly dressed by 7.30am!- (well done Susan!) Whatever it is, try and pull yourself back and ask yourself would you speak to your very best friend like you have just criticised yourself if she was in your shoes. Knocking yourself will only make you feel worse and with that you are more likely to make bad lifestyle choices and it then becomes a vicious circle. (The best friend thing may seem ridiculous but it works! I would never say or even think the things I have said to myself about myself to one of my friends!)
  • I know this can feel self-indulgent nearly and I do not mean go from self-criticism to arrogance but just treat yourself with the kindness you treat others. A good tip I found to help me get over the ‘self-indulgence or self praise’ feeling & putting a stop to the negative voice was that as your children get older (especially girls) you do not want them to self-criticise themselves and unfortunately, monkey see/monkey do, so why not change the habit now and you’ll also be a happier person for it too- so……..win/win!


Get out & meet other mums:

  • I know that sleepless nights can put a stop to having the strength or energy to get out the door but if you can muster up the strength it will always be worth it.
  • Chatting with other mums will make you realise you are not alone and that EVERYBODY thought they would be the family in the first photo but are in fact feeling like the family in the second one!



  • Obvious one I know, but SO important, even if it is just a stroll to the shops, again huge for your mental health and it is always the very day that it is hardest to make yourself do it is the most important day that you do. Make an arrangement to meet a friend for a walk and that way you will be less likely to pull out. And if you do pull out…don’t beat yourself up about it!
  • If possible, really try & attend a Post natal pilates or yoga class. They are both invaluable  to your physical recovery and for future pregnancies but so relaxing too, both elements so important to new mums. It is just very important you choose the right classes. Make sure that they are taught by professionals that have specialised in post natal exercise in order not to get injured or cause damage.


Make The Right Food Choices ‘Most’ Of The Time:

  • I really struggled with this one!! I just wanted sugar 24/7 with being so tired. When I did manage to drag myself away from the sugar and the 20 cups of coffee I felt the benefits massively, so it is so worth it if you can manage to make those choices.  Though some days you just have to drink copious cups of coffee with several packs of Toffee Pop biscuits and that’s ok too!



Try & Have Fun!:

  • Particularly with your partner. This may be a tough one as you are probably killing each other or just feel too tired to make an effort. Let go of being the perfect mum, give yourself and break, laugh- you won’t regret it! & the times goes so fast so try not to be too serious about it & enjoy it!


❤️Lucy Coleman❤️

1yrs old

How can Personal Health Help New Mums?

Exercise, Meet Other Mums & Have Fun:

Post Natal Pilates & Yoga classes led by Chartered physiotherapists and Midwives: see here for schedules and prices:


(Babies are welcome up to crawling age at Personal Health.)

Dietary Choices:

Dietary workshops for new mums: Coming soon


Book an appointment with one of our Consultant Dietitians:

Caoimhe McDonald(MINDI)

Cliona Godwin(MINDI)

Call: 01 4964002

 Email: info@personalhealth.ie